BCCDBritish Concentration Camps
of the South African War

The South African War

These books provide a general introduction to the war and include something on the camps.

J.H. Breytenbach, Die Geskiedenis van die Tweede Vryheidsoorlog in Suid-Afrika, 1899-1902, 6 vols (Pretoria, Die Staatsdrukker, 1978-1996)
The most extensive history of the war from the Afrikaner perspective, but over-ambitious in that it was never completed.

Erskine Childers (ed), The Times History of the War in South Africa, vol. 5 (London, Sampson Low, Marsten, 1907)
A standard history of the war, full, detailed and relatively objective but, nevertheless, very much from the British perspective. The volume listed here includes sections on the camps. On line at: http://openlibrary.org/works/OL2606220W/The_Times_history_of_the_war_in_South_Africa .

Greg Cuthbertson, Albert Grundlingh and Mary-Lynn Suttie (eds), Writing a Wider War. Rethinking Gender, Race, and Identity in the South African War,1899-1902 (Athens and Cape Town, Ohio University Press and David Philip, 2005)
Contains articles produced at the time of the centenary of the war, several of which offer new perspectives. Individual articles are listed independently.

Arthur Conan Doyle, The Great Boer War. A Two Year's Record, 1899-1902 (London, Smith, Elder & Co, 1901)
An early classic of the war, from the British perspective. On line at: http://www.archive.org/details/greatboerwar00doylgoog .

M.H. Grant, History of the War in South Africa, 1899–1902, vol. 4 (London, Hurst & Blackett, 1910)
The official British history of the war, which justifies British camp policy and the mortality.

Albert Grundlingh, The Dynamics of Treason. Boer Collaboration in the South African War of 1899-1902 (Pretoria, Protea Boekhuis, 2006)
The English translation of Hendsoppers and Joiners.

Albert Grundlingh, Die Hendsoppers en Joiners. Die Rasionaal en Verskynsel van Verraad (Pretoria, HAUM, 1979)
A pioneering work on the touchy subject of Boer collaboration with the British.

Louis Grundlingh, ‘Another side to warfare: caring for white destitutes during the Anglo-Boer War (October 1899-May1900)’, New Contree, 45, (1999), pp.137-163.

Tabitha Jackson, The Boer War (London, Channel 4 Books, 1999)
Made for a television series, this volume contains a few useful excepts.

Rayne Kruger, Goodbye Dolly Gray. A History of the Boer War (London, New English Library, 1957)
A South African classic which remains useful and readable.

Bill Nasson, The South African War 1899-1902 (London, Arnold, 1999)
A brief but insightful account of the war; very readable.

Thomas Pakenham, The Boer War (Johannesburg, Jonathan Ball, 1979)
The most widely read popular history of the war with some useful parts, but not always reliable.

L. March Phillipps, With Rimington (London, Edward Arnold, 1901)
Has particularly vivid accounts of the farm burning. This volume has been an important source for pro-Boer writing on the camps. On line at: http://www.archive.org/details/withrimington00philgoog .

Jan Ploeger, Die Lotgevalle van die Burgerlike Bevolking Gedurende die Ango-Boereoorlog, 1899-1902, 5 vols (Pretoria, Staatsargiefdenis, 1990)
A very detailed study of the civilian experience of the Boer republics during the war, which was never published and is obtainable only in roneo form.

Peter Warwick (ed.), The South African War. The Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902 (London, Longman, 1980)
A relatively early revisionist approach to the war; a useful introduction.

H.W. Wilson, After Pretoria: the Guerilla War, vol. 2 (London, The Amalgamated Press, 1902)
A jingoistic account with information on the camps. Contains some good illustrations and occasional nuggets.

Elizabeth van Heyningen, ‘ “Fools rush in”: Writing a history of the concentration camps of the South African War’, Historia, 55:2, (November 2010), pp. 12-33
This was written as a response to reaction to ‘A tool for modernisation?’ and is a discussion on the interpretation of the sources. See also Pretorius, ‘The white concentration camps of the Anglo-Boer War: A debate without end’, above. It is online with restricted access at: http://www.journals.co.za/ej/ejour_hist.html .

Albert Blake, Boereverraaier. Teregstellings tydens die Anglo-Boereoorlog (Cape Town, Tafelberg, 2010)
A study of the motivation and consequences of the execution of Boer traitors.

Comparative Studies
There is an increasing interest in internment camps in the colonial period, usually established as military strategy during guerrilla war. As yet, little has been published but there are a few items which are useful.

Arthur M. Davey, ‘The Reconcentrados of Cuba’, Historia, 5(3), (Sept 1960), pp. 193-205
This is one of the earliest works to look at the best-known predecessor to the South African camps.

Iain Smith and Andreas Stucki, ‘The colonial development of concentration camps (1895-1908)’, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, forthcoming
A brief comparative study of internment camps at the end of the nineteenth century and early twentieth century.

John L. Tone, War and Genocide in Cuba, 1895-1898 (Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 2006)
Includes a particularly good study of the emergence and development of the Cuban camps.

S.C. Miller, Benevolent Assimilation: The American Conquest of the Philippines, 1899-1903 (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1982)
Includes some brief references to the American internment camps.

Jonathan Hyslop, ‘The invention of the concentration camp: Cuba, Southern Africa and the Philippines, 1896-1907’, South African Historical Journal, 63(2), June 2011, pp. 251-276.
A study of the origins of colonial concentration camps in the light of the impact of the creation of modern professional armies.

Local Studies
The camps have rarely been put into their local context. These works contribute to our wider understanding of the camps.

J.G. Boje, ‘Winburg’s war. An appraisal of the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902 as it was experienced by the people of a Free State district’ (PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, 2009).
A particularly fine study of a local area during the war, which questions many of the traditional assumptions and includes an excellent chapter on Winburg camp. It is available on line at: http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-05092010-210157/.

Diana Cammack, The Rand at War 1899-1902. The Witwatersrand and the Anglo-Boer War (London, James Currey, 1990).

Willem Jacobus Pretorius, ‘Die Britse owerheid en die burgerlike bevolking van Heidelberg, Transvaal, gedurende die Anglo-Boereoorlog’ (DPhil thesis, University of Pretoria, 2008)
Includes a section on Heidelberg camp. On line at: http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-07012008-152711/ .

Ian Uys, Heidelbergers of the Boer War (Cape Town, The Author, 1981).

Johan M. Wasserman, ‘The Natal Afrikaner and the Anglo-Boer War’ (PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, 2004)
Another excellent local study with much information on Natal Afrikaners in the camps. It is available on line at: http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-03072006-095936/ .

Johan M. Wasserman, ‘Natal Afrikaners as loyalists during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902)’, Natalia, 40, (December 2010), pp. 32-61.
This is a discussion of the difficult position of Natal Afrikaners who remained loyal to the British, with controversial conclusions. It is available online at: http://www.natalia.org.za/Files/40/Natalia%2040%202010%20Afrikaner%20loyalists%20pp%2032-61.pdf ..

Johan M. Wassermann and Brian Kearney (eds), A Warrior’s Gateway. Durban and the Anglo-Boer War, 1899-1902 (Pretoria, Protea Book House, 2002).

L. Wulfsohn, Rustenburg at War: the Story of Rustenburg and its Citizens in the First and Second Anglo-Boer Wars (Rustenburg, The Author, 1987).

John Boje and Fransjohan Pretorius, ‘Of gold and iron: collaborators in the Winburg District’, South African Historical Journal, 63(2), (June 2011), pp. 277-294
Case studies of the fates of three Boer officers who collaborated with the British, in the light of collaboration in Europe during the two World Wars

The Concentration Camps
General works on the camps.

Owen Coetzer, Fire in the sky: The Destruction of the Orange Free State 1899-1902 (Weltevreden Park, Covos-Day, 2000)
An uncritical work written during the South African War centenary, which reinforces much of the camp mythology.

Napier Devitt, The Concentration Camps in South Africa during the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902 (Pietermaritzburg, Shuter & Shooter, 1941)
Published during World War II as a reaction against some of the more extreme Afrikaner Nationalist literature on the camps.

P.A. Dry, ‘Concentration camps during the South African War (1899-1902) with particular reference to the Natal camps 1900-1902’ (BA (Hons) thesis, University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 1990).

A.C. Martin, The Concentration Camps, 1900-1902: Facts, Figures and Fables  (Cape Town, Howard Timmins, 1957)
Written by a United Party supporter, partly as a reaction against J.C. Otto.

J.C. Otto, Die Konsentrasiekampe (Cape Town, Nasionale Boekhandel, 1954, republished Pretoria, Protea Boekhuis, 2005)
Originally a doctoral thesis, this remains the only general history of the camps. Although a pioneering work, it is limited in its scope and perspective.

Fransjohan Pretorius (ed.), Scorched Earth (Cape Town, Human & Rousseau, 2001)
A useful collection of articles on the camps.

Fransjohan Pretorius (ed.), Verskroeide Aarde (Cape Town, Human & Rousseau, 2001)
Afrikaans translation of Scorched Earth.

A.W.G. Raath, Die Boerevrou, 1899-1902, vol. 2 Kampsmarte, (Bloemfontein, Volkskomitee vir die Herdenking van die Tweede Vryheidsoorlog, 2003)
Histories of individual camps with a large number of excepts from women’s testimonies. The author is a legal academic and this work is a case for the prosecution rather than an objective history.

Eliza Riedi, ‘Teaching empire: British and Dominions women teachers in the South African War concentration camps’, English Historical Review, CXX(489), (2005), pp. 1316-1333
An excellent account of education in the camps, bringing fresh perspectives to bear on the subject.

S.B. Spies, Methods of Barbarism? Roberts and Kitchener and Civilians in the Boer Republics January 1900-May 1902 (Cape Town, Human & Rousseau, 1977)
The most important book on the policies which gave rise to the camps. A fine work which is required reading for anyone interested in the subject.

S.B. Spies, ‘Women and the war’ in Warwick (ed.), The South African War, pp. 161-185
A brief general account of women’s experiences in the war, including the camps.

Ewald Steenkamp, Helkampe (Johannesburg, Voortrekkerpers, 1941)
A somewhat eccentric work, which evoked much controversy at the time of its publication and is reputed to have been banned by General Smuts because of its divisive nature.

S.J. Thomson, The Transvaal Burgher Camps (Allahabad, Pioneer Press, 1904)
Written by the second Director of the Transvaal camps, who had been imported from the Indian Medical Service, this is more a manual on running interment camps than an account of the Transvaal camps.

Elizabeth van Heyningen, ‘‘The concentration camps of the South African (Anglo-Boer) War, 1899-1902’, History Compass, 6, (2008)
An article on the historiography of the camps. On line but unfortunately with limited availability: http://www.blackwell-compass.com/subject/history/ .

Fransjohan Pretorius, ‘The white concentration camps of the Anglo-Boer War: A debate without end’, Historia, 55:2, (November 2010), pp. 34-49
This is a response, both to Stanley’s Mourning Becomes . . .  and van Heyningen, ‘A tool for modernisation’. It is available online with restricted access at: http://www.journals.co.za/ej/ejour_hist.html .

Ellen Ellis, Teachers for South Africa. New Zealand Women at the South African War Concentration Camps (Paekakariki, Hanorah Books, 2010)
This is a fascinating study of twenty New Zealand women who went to teach in the camps. The author traces their lives in the camps and after.

Black Camps

[Stowell Kessler], Swart Konsentrasiekampe tydens die Anglo-Boereoorlog (Bloemfontein, Oorlogsmuseum, 1996)
An introduction to the subject.

Stowell V. Kessler, ‘The black and coloured concentration camps’ in Pretorius (ed.), Scorched Earth, pp. 132-153.

Stowell V. Kessler, ‘The black and coloured concentration camps of the Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902: shifting the paradigm from sole martyrdom to mutual suffering’, Historia, 44(1), (1999), pp. 110-147.

Stowell V. Kessler, The black concentration camps of the South African War, 1899-1902’ (PhD thesis, University of Cape Town, 2003)
The most extensive study of the subject.

J.S. Mohlamme, ‘African refugee camps in the Boer Republics’, in Pretorius (ed.), Scorched Earth, pp. 110-121.

B.E. Mongalo, and K.J. du Pisani, ‘Victims of a white man's war: blacks in concentration camps during the South African War (1899-1902)’, Historia, 44(1), (1999), pp. 148-82.

Liz Stanley, ‘Black labour and the concentration camp system of the South African War’, Journal for Contemporary History, 28, (2003), pp. 190-213.

Peter Warwick, Black People and the South African War 1899-1902 (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1983), pp. 145-162
The first substantial work on the black camps, this remains unsurpassed and is standard reading on the subject.

Peter Warwick, ‘Black people and the war’, in Warwick (ed.), The South African War, pp. 139-160
Includes a shorter version of the above.

André Wessels and Annette Wohlberg, ‘Black people and race relations in the largest Anglo-Boer War concentration camp: Merebank, 1901-1902’, New Contree, 49, (2005), pp. 33-47.

Individual Camp Histories

Christiaan Frederik Beyers, Korte Geschiedenis van het Konsentrasie-kamp te Pietersburg, Zoutpansberg, en Naamlijst der 650 Vrouwen en Kinderen, aldaar Gestorven . . .  (Pretoria, Volkstemdrukkerij, 1908)
A very early work written from the ‘paradigm of suffering’ perspective.

J. Dreyer and J.C. Loock, ‘The Allemans and Brandfort camps and cemeteries’ in Pretorius (ed.), Scorched Earth, pp. 154-167.

Johannes Leon Hattingh, ‘Die Irenekonsentrasiekamp’, Archives Yearbook for South African History, 1, (1967), pp. 72-201.

J.A. Krugell, ‘Die Pietersburgse konsentrasiekamp’, (MA thesis, University of Potchefstroom, 1988).

A.D.L[ückhoff], Woman’s Endurance (Pretoria, Protea Boekhuis, 2006, orig. 1904)
A moving account of Bethulie camp by the chaplain.

A.W.G. Raath, Die Konsentrasiekamp te Springfontein Gedurende die Anglo-Boereoorlog 1899-1902 (Bloemfontein, Anglo-Boer War Museum, 1991).

A.W.G. Raath,  Die Konsentrasiekamp te Vredefortweg Gedurende die Anglo-Boereoorlog 1899-1902 (Bloemfontein, Anglo-Boer War Museum, 1992).

A.W.G. Raath,  Vroueleed: die Lotgevalle van die Vroue en Kinders Buite die Konsentrasiekampe 1899-1902 (Bloemfontein, Prisca Uitgewers, 1993).

Elizabeth van Heyningen, ‘Pietermaritzburg concentration camp’, Natalia, 40, (December 2010), pp. 62-76
It is available online at: http://www.natalia.org.za/Files/40/Natalia%2040%202010%20Pmb%20Concentration%20Camp%20pp%2062-76.pdf.

Elria Wessels, ‘A cage without bars – the concentration camp in Bloemfontein’ in Pretorius (ed.), Scorched Earth, pp. 60-85.

J.J. Roodt, ‘Die Port Elizabethse Konsentrasiekamp’, (MA thesis, University of Port Elizabeth, 1990).

M.J. Swart and J.J. Roodt, ‘Die Port Elizabeth konsentrasiekamp, 1899-1902, Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Kultuurgeskiedenis, 6(2), (1992), pp. 75-85.

Johanna van Warmelo-Brandt, Het Concentratie-Kamp van Iréne (Amsterdam, HAUM, 1905)
Based largely on her diary and drawing on her own experiences.

Johan M. Wassermann, The Eshowe Concentration and Surrendered Burghers Camp During the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) (Congella, Waterman Publishers, 1999).

Johan M. Wassermann, The Pinetown Concentration Camp during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) (Congella, Waterman Publishers, c.2000).

R. Wiid and Winnie West, Die Oranjerivierkampe Tydens die Anglo-Boereoorlog 1899-1902 (Pretoria, Protea Boekhuis, 2002)
An account of the Orange River camp by the owner of the farm, Doornbult, on which the camp and cemetery lie.

Annette U. Wohlberg, ‘The Merebank Concentration Camp in Durban, 1901-1902’, (MA thesis, University of the Orange Free State, 2000)
A fine piece of research on an important camp, which is particularly valuable since many of the records have been destroyed.

Trudie Venter, Bethulie en die Anglo-Boereoorlog (Bethulie, The Author, 2011)
This volume contains much local information and a substantial section on the camp.

Health and Disease in the Camps

Bruce Fetter and Stowell Kessler, Stowell, ‘Scars from a childhood disease. Measles in the concentration camps during the Boer War’, Social Science History, 20, (1996), pp. 563-611.

Daniel Low-Beer, Matthew Smallman-Raynor and Andrew Cliff, ‘Disease and death in the South African War: Changing disease patterns from soldiers to refugees’, Social History of Medicine, 17(2), (Aug 2004), pp. 223-245.

Elizabeth van Heyningen, ‘British doctors versus Boer women: clash of medical cultures’ in Pretorius (ed.), Scorched Earth, pp. 178-197
Argues that part of the friction between the British doctors and the Boer women arose from the fact that they espoused different systems of health and healing.

Elizabeth van Heyningen, ‘Medical history and Afrikaner society in the Boer republics at the end of the nineteenth century’, Kleio, 37, (2005), pp. 5-25
Explores health and health care in the Boer republics before the start of the war.

Elizabeth van Heyningen, ‘A tool for modernisation? The Boer concentration camps of the South African War, 1900-1902’, South African Journal of Science, 106(5/6)
Examines British ideas about the desirable modern society within the context of the camps. On line at http://www.sajs.co.za/index.php/SAJS/article/view/242/290 .

Elizabeth van Heyningen, ‘Women and disease. The clash of medical cultures in the concentration camps of the South African War’ in Cuthbertson, et al. (eds.), Writing a Wider War, pp. 186-212
The original, somewhat extended version of ‘British doctors versus Boer women’.

Charlotte Searle, A History of the Development of Nursing in South Africa, 1652-1960 (Cape Town, Struik, 1966)
The standard history of nursing in South Africa, written by the doyen of South African nursing, which includes a substantial section on the camps. Useful but somewhat dated.

Emily Hobhouse and the Pro-Boers

Jennifer Hobhouse Balme (ed.), To Love One's Enemies. The Work and Life of Emily Hobhouse Compiled from Letters and Writings, Newspaper Cuttings and Official Documents (Cobble Hill, Hobhouse Trust, 1994)
A supplement to the van Reenen letters.

Arthur M. Davey, The British Pro-Boers 1877-1902 (Cape Town, Tafelberg, 1978).

John Fisher, That Miss Hobhouse (London, Secker & Warburg, 1971).

A. Ruth Fry, Emily Hobhouse: A Memoir (London, Jonathan Cape, 1929).

Hope Hay Hewison, Hedge of Wild Almonds. South Africa, the 'Pro-Boers' & the Quaker Conscience 1890-1910 (Portsmouth, Heinemann, 1989).

Emily H. Hobhouse, Appeal of Miss Hobhouse to Mr Brodrick, (London, South African Conciliation Committee, 1901).

The Brunt of the War and Where It Fell (London, Methuen, 1902)
The classic work on the subject, which remains necessary reading for anyone seriously interested in the camps, but should not be taken entirely at face value. On line at: http://www.archive.org/details/bruntwarandwher01hobhgoog .

The Concentration Camps. Mr Brodrick's Concessions and Miss Hobhouse's Comments Upon Them (London, Hobhouse Report Distribution Committee, [1901]).

A Letter to the Committee of the South African Women and Children's Distress Fund (London, Argus, [1901]).

To the Committee of the South African Distress Fund. Report of a Visit to the Camps of Women and Children in the Cape and Orange River Colonies (London, Frears, [1901])

War Without Glamour; or, Women's War Experiences Written by Themselves, 1899-1902; Historical Records Collected and Translated by Emily Hobhouse (Bloemfontein, Nasionale Pers, 1924)
A collection of women’s testimonies, published as a demonstration of the effect of war on women and children.

J.D. Kriel, ‘Emily Hobhouse en die naweë van die Anglo-Boereoorlog. 'n Studie van altruisme en pasifisme’, (PhD thesis, University of the Orange Free State, 1956).

Andrew J. McLeod, ‘Emily Hobhouse: her feet firmly on the ground’ in Pretorius (ed.), Scorched Earth, pp. 198-225.

B. Roberts, Those Bloody Women. Three Heroines of the Boer War (London, John Murray, 1991)
A popular history which includes Emily Hobhouse.

South African Conciliation Committee, Some Comments on the Report of the Ladies Commission on the Concentration Camps (London, South African Conciliation Committee, [1902]).

Liz Stanley, “A strange thing is memory”: Emily Hobhouse, memory work, moral life and the “concentration system”’, South African Historical Journal, 52, (2005), pp. 60-81
Almost the only work to offer fresh perspectives on Emily Hobhouse.

A. Terblanche, Emily Hobhouse (Johannesburg, Afrikaanse Pers, 1948).

Rykie van Reenen (ed.), Emily Hobhouse. Boer War Letters (Cape Town, Human & Rousseau, 1984)
The standard collection of the letters of Emily Hobhouse, including excerpts from her unpublished memoir. Standard reading for anyone working on the camps.

Rykie van Reenen, Heldin uit die Vreemde: die Verhaal van Emily Hobhouse (Cape Town, Tafelberg, 1970).

British Government Blue Books and The Ladies Commission
The British Command Papers, commonly known as Blue Books from their covers, are collections of official papers presented to parliament. They contain much invaluable information and are standard reading on the camps, but readers should never forget that they are documents presented by the party in power and are intended to reflect well on their actions. A careful comparison of the camp Blue Books with the original documents demonstrates, however, that they were accurate and full, with remarkably little censorship. As far as they go, they can be used confidently.

Cd 694, Returns of Numbers of Persons in the Camps of Refuge in South Africa, July 1901 (London, HMSO, 1901).

Cd 789, Further Returns of Numbers of Persons in the Camps of Refuge in South Africa, August, 1901 (London, HMSO, 1901).

Cd 793, Return of Numbers of Persons in the Concentration Camps in South African, September, 1901 (London, HMSO, 1901).

Cd 819, Reports, &c. on the Working of the Refugee Camps (London, HMSO, 1901)
The largest published volume of British records on the camps, it remains necessary reading , with the proviso that it does not tell the whole story and was published as an exercise in propaganda.

Cd 853, Further Papers Relating to the Working of the Refugee Camps (London, HMSO, 1901).

Cd 893, Report on the Concentration Camps in South Africa, by the Committee of Ladies Appointed by the Secretary of State for War (London, HMSO, 1902)
An invaluable source for the study of the camps, despite its political bias.

Cd 902, Further Papers Relating to the Working of the Refugee Camps (London, HMSO, 1902).

Cd 934, Further Papers Relating to the Working of the Refugee Camps in South Africa (London, HMSO, 1902).

Cd 935, Statistics of the Refugee Camps in South Africa, 1902 (London, HMSO, 1902).

Cd 936, Further Papers Relating to the Working of the Refugee Camps in South Africa (London, HMSO, 1902).

Cd 939, Statistics of the Refugee Camps in South Africa (London, HMSO, 1902).

Cd 942, Statistics of the Refugee Camps in South Africa (London, HMSO, 1902).

Cd 979, Returns of Farm Buildings, &c., in Cape Colony and Natal, Destroyed by Boers (London, HMSO, 1902).

Katherine Brereton, ‘Life in the concentration camps’ Pall Mall Magazine, 27, (1902?), pp. 32-45
A rare article by a member of the Ladies Commission. On line at: http://www.archive.org/details/pallmallmagazin02unkngoog .

Millicent Garrett Fawcett, The Concentration Camps in South Africa’, The Westminster Gazette, (4 Jul 1901), pp.1-2.
A leading British feminist, she chaired the Ladies Commission.

Elaine Harrison, ‘Women members and witnesses on British Government ad hoc Committees of Inquiry 1850-1930, with special reference to Royal Commissions of Inquiry’ (PhD thesis, London School of Economics & Political Science, 1998)
Includes a substantial section on the Ladies Commission and questions the perspective, advanced by Krebs below, that the Commission pioneered women’s role in British public life.

Paula M. Krebs, Gender, Race, and the Writing of Empire. Public Discourse and the Boer War (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1999)
Looks at both Hobhouse and the Ladies Commission, arguing that the Commission contributed to women’s participation in British political life.

A.W.G. Raath, The British Concentration Camps of the Anglo-Boer War, 1899-1902. Reports on the Camps, (Bloemfontein, The War Museum, 1999)
Excerpts from the British Blue Books.

Boer women
Unfortunately the research on Boer women is remarkably thin. The works listed below are directly related to the camps.

Jackie Grobler, ‘Haat, vrees, afsku – boerevroue se houding teenoor swart mense soos weerspieël in dagboeke tydens die Anglo-Boereoorlog, 1899-1902, en die nalatenskap daarvan’, Journal for Contemporary History, 27(2), pp. 31-44.

Leandré Hanekom and Elria Wessels, Woman, Thy Name is Valour. An Overview of the Role of Afrikaner and Uitlander-Women and Children inside and outside Anglo Boer War Concentration Camps 1899-1902 (Bloemfontein, Anglo Boer War Museum, 2000)

C. Landman, The Piety of Afrikaner Women: Diaries of Guilt, (Pretoria, University of South Africa, 1994)
Includes sections on Tant Alie Badenhorst and Johanna van Warmelo.

Pets Marais, Die Vrou in die Anglo-Boereoorlog 1899-1902 (Pretoria, JP van der Walt, 1999)

J. Snyman, ‘The politics of memory: vestiges of trauma’, in C. van der Merwe, and R. Wolfswinkel (eds.) Telling Wounds. Narrative, Trauma & Memory – Working though the SA Armed Conflicts of the 20th Century (Stellenbosch, Van Schaik, 2002), pp. 37-47
Has a useful discussion on the experience of the camp women, in the light of modern thinking about trauma.

War is gendered, with military men dominating civilians, male and female, and the camps were complex gendered environments. This section contains a selection of works related to these issues.

Helen Bradford, ‘Gentlemen and Boers: Afrikaner nationalism, gender, and colonial warfare in the South African War’, in Cuthbertson et al. (eds.), Writing a Wider War, pp. 37-66
A pioneering article on gender in the war, reinforcing the argument that the women were the real bittereindes.

Elsabé Brink, ‘Man-made women: gender, class and the ideology of the volksmoeder’, in C. Walker (ed.), Women and Gender in Southern Africa to 1945 (Cape Town, David Philip, 1990), pp. 273–292
A seminal article on the role of women in the formation of Afrikaner nationalism, which argues that the volksmoeder ideology was imposed on women by Afrikaner men.

Lou-Marie Kruger, ‘Gender, community and identity: Women and Afrikaner nationalism in the volksmoeder discourse of Die Boerevrou (1919–1931)’ (MA thesis, University of Cape Town, 1991)
Although not about the war or the camps, this is a particularly fine study of women’s role in Afrikaner nationalism, arguing that women had a greater independent agency than Brink suggests.

Elizabeth van Heyningen, ‘The voices of women in the South African War’ South African Historical Journal, 41, (1999), pp. 22-43.
A relatively early examination of British and Boer women’s writings during the South African War.

Women’s testimonies
These are amongst the best-known writings on the concentration camps. Liz Stanley and Helen Dampier have argued that many of the texts are highly politicised and inauthentic. There is much to be said for this viewpoint and the testimonies should not be taken at face value. As a rough rule of thumb, the closer to the war that they were published, the more reliable they are likely to be, both because of the later influence of Afrikaner nationalism and because memory is unreliable. It can also be argued, however, that some these texts are the products of trauma and they can also be considered in relation to other writings of this kind, for instance on the Holocaust or those of the Dutch women in Japanese camps.

Henrietta Esther Carolina Armstrong, Camp Diary of Henrietta E.C. Armstrong. Experiences of a Boer Nurse in the Irene Concentration Camp, 6 April-11 October 1901, ed by Thariza van Rensburg (Pretoria, HSRC, 1980)
A particularly well-edited diary.

A.M. Badenhorst, Tant' Alie of Transvaal, her Diary, 1880-1902, tr. by E.H. Hobhouse (London, Allen and Unwin, 1923).

A.M. Badenhorst, Tant Alie van Transvaal. Die Dagboek van Alie Badenhorst, tr. by M.E. Rothmann (Cape Town, Nasionale Pers, 1939)
Originally published in English by Emily Hobhouse

Anna Barry, Ons Japie: Dagboek Gehou Gedurende die Driejarige Oorlog, [1899-1902] (Johannesburg, Afrikaanse Pers, 1960)
A moving account of a family caught up in complicated Boer identities during the war.

Lenie Boshoff-Liebenberg, Moedersmart en Kinderleed, of 18 Maande in die Konsentrasiekampe (Pretoria, Noordelike Drukpers, 1921).

John Bottomley, and C. Luijks (eds) ‘The diary of Susarah Nel and her ordeal in the ‘death camp’ at Mafeking, July 1901-August 1902’, New Contree, 44, (1998), pp. 33-53.

Johanna Brandt see Johanna van Warmelo-Brandt

C.G. Coetzee and M.C.E. van Schoor, Kampkinders 1900-1902 - 'n Gedenkboek (Bloemfontein, Oorlogsmuseum, 1982).

Jacoba Elizabeth de la  Rey, Herinneringen van Mevrouw de la Rey, geboren Greeff: Mijne Omzwervingen en Beproevingen gedurende den Oorlog (Amsterdam, Hoveker & Wormser, [1903]).

Jacoba Elizabeth de la  Rey, A Woman's Wanderings and Trial during the Anglo-Boer War (London, T Fisher Unwin, 1903).


Bep du Toit, Die Verhaal van Johanna Brandt (Pretoria, Protea Boekhuis, 1999).

M.A. Fischer,  Tant Miem se Kampdagboek Mei 1901-Augustus 1902 (Cape Town, Tafelberg, 1964).

M.A. Fischer, Kampdagboek, (Mei 1901-Augustus 1902): Een en Ander uit myn Leven en Lyden zedert eka ls Kyrgsgevangenen weggevoerd werdt van Buhrmansvalei oor Ermelo op 31ste Mei 1901 (Cape Town, Tafelberg, 1964).

Kezia Hamman (ed.), Dagboek van 'n Bethulie-kampdogter (Bloemfontein, NG Sendingpers, 1965).

S.L. le Clus, Lief en Leed. ‘n Verhaal van Huis- en Kamplewe gedurende die Anglo-Boereoorlog, van 1899-1902 (Bloemfontein, Nasionale Pers, [1902]).

Margaret Marquard, Letters from a Boer Parsonage. Letters of Margaret Marquard during the Boer War (Cape Town, Purnell, 1967)
Although Marquard was never in a camp, she gives a particularly vivid picture of the genesis of the Winburg camp and life in Winburg during the war.

Elizabeth Neethling:

After the war Neethling was requested by Louis Botha to go to Europe to speak of what she had seen and found about the experiences of the women in the camps. Her book of testimonies was published originally in English and later translated. Although it is second only to Hobhouse’s works on the women’s stories, it is not without problems. See especially Helen Dampier and Liz Stanley on this subject.

Mag Ons Vergeet? (Cape Town, Nasionale Pers, 1938).

Should We Forget? (Cape Town, HALM, [1902]).

Vergeten? (Cape Town, Nasionale Pers, 1917).

Magdalina Margaritha Postma, (ed.):

Stemme uit die Verlede. 'n Versameling van Beedigde Verklarings van Vrouwe wat Tydens die Tweede Vryheidsoorlog in die Konsentrasiekampe Verkeer het (Pretoria, Voortrekkerpers, 1939).

Stemme Uit die Vrouekampe Gedurende die Tweede Vryheids Oorlog tussen Boer en Brit van 1899 tot 1902 (Potchefstroom, The Author, 1929).

Sarah Raal:

The Lady Who Fought. A Young Woman’s Account of the Anglo-Boer War (Plumstead, Stormberg, 2000)
The English translation of Met die Boere in die Veld.

Met die Boere in die Veld: Die Ervarings van die Skryfster (Cape Town, Nasionale Pers, 1937)
One of the best-known accounts of the war. Although parts of Raal’s story can be confirmed in the archival record, this book was written well after the war and her descriptions of camp life should be treated with caution.

H. Rabie-van der Merwe, Onthou! In die Skaduwee van die Galg (Bloemfontein, Nasionale Pers, 1940).

J.C. Steyn (comp.), Veg en Vlug. Manne en Vroue Vertel hul Ware Verhale uit die Anglo-Boereoorlog (Cape Town, Tafelberg, 1999).

Rensche van der Walt, Dagboek van ‘n Bethulie-kampdogter (Bloemfontein, NG Sendingpers, 1965).

Johanna van Helsdingen, Vrouenleed. Persoonlijke Ondervindingen in den Boerenoorlog (Amsterdam, HAUM, 1905).

Johanna van Warmelo-Brandt:

Johanna van Warmelo was one of the six Pretoria volunteers in Irene camp.

Die Kappie Kommando of Boerevrouwen in Geheime Dienst, 2d ed. (Cape Town, Hollandsch-Afrikaansche Uitgevers, 1915)
A later translation of the original English version of Petticoat Commando.

The Petticoat Commando or Boer Women in Secret Service (London, Mills & Boon, 1913)
On line at: http://www.archive.org/details/petticoatcommand00branrich .

The War Diary of Johanna Brandt, ed. by Jackie Grobler (Pretoria, Protea Boekhuis, 2007).

D.H. van Zyl, In die Konsentraisekamp. Jeugherinneringe (Bloemfontein, Nasionale Pers, 1944).

Wilhelmina Riem Vis, Tien Maanden in een ‘Vrouwenkamp’ (Rotterdam, DA Daamen, 1902).


G.B Beak, The Aftermath of War. An Account of the Repatriation of Boers and Natives in the Orange River Colony 1902-1904 (London, Edward Arnold, 1906)
Written by a British official involved in repatriation.

Best Home Industries and Aid Society, Report of the work done by the Boer Home Industries and Aid Society . . . 1906-1908 (London, National Press Agency, n.d.)
Describes post-war efforts to assist Boer women, organised by Emily Hobhouse.

Post-war Commemoration and Memorialisation
These works relate to post-war commemoration of the camps, the creation of Afrikaner identity and a camp mythology.

Elsie Cloete:

‘Writing of(f) the women of the National Women’s Monument’ Literator, 20(3), (1999), pp. 35-50.

 ‘Afrikaner identity: culture, tradition and gender’ Agenda, 13 (1992), pp. 42-56.

 ‘The National Women’s Monument brochures: a rhetoric of male supremacy’ in Myths Monuments Museums. New Premises? University of the Witwatersrand, History Workshop, 16-18 July 1992.

Helen Dampier:

‘Everyday life in Boer women's testimonies of the concentration camps of the South African War, 1899-1902’ in Barry Godfrey & Graeme Dunstall (eds), Crime and Empire 1840-1940: Criminal Justice in Local and Global Context (Cullompton, Willan, 2005), pp. 202-223.

‘Women's testimonies of the concentration camps of the South African War: 1899-1902 and after’, (PhD thesis, University of Newcastle, 2005)
Questions the authenticity of many of the women’s testimonies, arguing that they were highly politicised.

Jenny de Reuck, ‘Social suffering and the politics of pain. Observations on the concentration camps in the Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902’, English in Africa, 26(2), (Oct 1999), 69-88.

W.I. Direko, L. Changuion, and F. Jacobs, Suffering of War. A Photographic Portrayal of the Suffering in the Anglo-Boer War Emphasising the Universal Elements in All Wars (Bloemfontein, Kraal Publishers, 2003)
A particularly fine volume of photographs published in the spirit of reconciliation.

Arthur Conan Doyle, African Winter (London, John Murray, 1929)
Doyle visited South Africa in 1927, and ran into some hostility as a result of his pro-British perspective on the camps.

Michael Godby, ‘Confronting horror: Emily Hobhouse and the concentration camp photographs of the South African War’, Kronos, 32, (Nov .2006), pp. 34-48
A rare analysis of camp photographs.

Albert Grundlingh:

Although Grundlingh has not published directly on the camps, his work on the mythologising of the war as a tool in the making of Afrikaner identity in the post-war era is particularly significant in understanding how we think now about the camps:

‘The Anglo-Boer War in 20th century Afrikaner national consciousness’ in Pretorius (ed.), Scorched Earth, pp. 242-63.

‘The National Women’s Monument. The making and mutation of meaning in Afrikaner memory of the South African War’ in Cuthbertson et al. (eds.), Writing a Wider War, pp. 18-36.

  ‘Politics, principles and problems of a profession: Afrikaner historians and their discipline, c.1920 – c.1965’, Perspectives in Education, 12(1), (1990), pp. 1-19.

‘Reframing remembrance: the politics of the centenary commemoration of the South African War of 1899-1902’ in van der Merwe & Wolfswinkel (eds), Telling Wounds, pp. 21-36.

 ‘War, wordsmiths and the “volk”: Afrikaans historical writing on the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902 and the war in Afrikaner nationalist consciousness, 1902-1990’ in E. Lehmann, and E. Reckwitz, E (eds), Mfecane to Boer War: Versions of South African History. Papers presented at a symposium at the University of Essen, 25-27 April 1990 (Die Blaue Eule), pp. 43-54.

Liz Stanley and Helen Dampier:

‘Aftermaths: post/memory, commemoration and the concentration camps of the South African War 1899-1902’, European Review of History, 12(1), (2005), pp. 89-113.

 ‘Cultural entrepreneurs, proto-nationalism and women’s testimony writings: from the South African War to 1940’, Journal of Southern African Studies, 33(3), (Sept 2007), pp. 501-19.

Liz Stanley:

Mourning Becomes . . . Post/memory, Commemoration and the Concentration Camps of the South African War (Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2006)
This volume includes many of the arguments published in earlier articles. Written by a sociologist rather than a historian, it is somewhat quirky but offers exciting new perspectives on the camps. Necessary reading for anyone interested in the women’s testimonies.

 ‘Mourning becomes . . .: the work of feminism in the spaces between lives lived and lives written’, Women's Studies International Forum, 24(1), (2002), pp. 1-17.

 ‘A “secret history” of local mourning: the South African War and state commemoration’, Sociology in Transition, 33, (2002), pp. 1-22.

 ‘Women’s South African War testimonies: remembering and forgiving in Should We Forget?’, Tydskrif vir Nederlands en Afrikaans, (2002), pp. 93-118
A discussion of Elizabeth Neethling’s work.

Elizabeth van Heyningen, ‘Costly mythologies: the concentration camps of the South African War in Afrikaner historiography’, Journal of Southern African Studies, 34(3), (Sept. 2008), pp. 495-513
An attempt to explain why there has been so little serious historical study of the camps and to understand why camp myths remain so powerful.

Emily Hobhouse Museum and family bible

Dear All,

It's a long time since I sent out a message. However, I have two items of interest.


1 A correspondent has informed me that an Emily Hobhouse Museum is to be opened in Cornwall, in the house where she was born and brought up. Here is the link:


2 Another correspondent has asked me if I can help in tracing the family of a bible, acquired in the war, which he would like to return. If anyone can help, it would be wonderful. Once before we were successful in such a search.

Here is the letter:

I'm writing on behalf of an English colleague here in Vancouver, Canada, who would like to return a bible to the descendants of an Oosthuysen family that lived on a farm, probably east of Standerton, during the South African war (ca 1900). His grandfather got the bible when he was part of the 13th Hussars, a regiment that cleared farms and placed people in concentration camps. The story is that the grandfather was not happy burning farms and took the bible to protect/preserve it, thought it was bad luck to burn a bible.

There are several names and birth dates in the bible which we can use to verify any claims to the bible, but the original couple, who had 6 or 7 children, were:

Barend Gabriel Oosthuysen, born 1850.
Catharina Agatha Kemp Oosthuysen (nee Scheepers), born 1852.

Any help you give my colleague to trace the descendants of the Oosthuysen family would be greatly appreciated.

Acknowledgments: The project was funded by the Wellcome Trust, which is not responsible for the contents of the database. The help of the following research assistants is gratefully acknowledged: Ryna Boshoff, Murray Gorman, Janie Grobler, Marelize Grobler, Luke Humby, Clare O’Reilly Jacomina Roose, Elsa Strydom, Mary van Blerk. Thanks also go to Peter Dennis for the design of the original database and to Dr Iain Smith, co-grantholder.